Princess Earrings

Neither beginning nor ending, with Sofia de Medeiros

Lúcia Marques, co-curator

Fuchsia Hybrida is the title for the new series of works by artist Sofia de Medeiros, created in 2010, and also the name of a flower that is the symbol of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, where ¾ just as in the Azores ¾ religious festivities are a truly important reaffirmation of popular culture (as the Holy Spirit festivities, conventionally associated to the first harvests and the result of the want for a new era of equality, prosperity and abundance).

Created from the combination of several South-American species, this hybrid plant is particularly known for its pendant leaves, and certainly due to that also known as ‘tears’ in popular terms. The artist explores this formal association of meanings, that is, the multiple connotations and senses of the words and realities that these represent.

What comes immediately to mind when we hear the expression Fuchsia Hybrida (in Portuguese, the name can be literally translated as Princess’ Hearings)? In something that has to do with the realm of fantasy: it takes us to the ‘fairy tales’ that modelled our social upbringing and then, after that and linked to the title of the current series (the first in a trilogy commonly called Neither Beginning nor Ending) do we look for a link between that childhood memory and its transposition to the adult world of contemporary art.

Sofia de Medeiros brings to the world of art, through a ludic strategy that reuses traditional shapes, materials and handcrafting techniques, the social roles taught from an early age (since the ‘origins’), specially to women, enhancing the prevalence of this cultural heritage until nowadays.

The artist is interested in long-term mental categories (historical) ¾ such as ‘love’ and ‘work’ ¾ which structure human existence and, moreover, build identities of genre, with specific functions and expectations, destined to keep a certain order in human life (in ‘coexistence’, in society).

Hence, the names of some pieces now in display: they are linked to the chivalric romances ¾ swift media for a disciplinary amorous formula ¾ or to children’s literature stereotypes, besides the more direct references to behaviours generally pertaining to the feminine condition, and vital musical and culinary traditions in the establishment of a logic of local or even national identification.

These objects are suited to contemplation of a formal syncretism, which is also polysemous, which explicitly reaffirms the fetishist (of the bewitching-thing) origin of the artistic production. These works result from the ritual of affections, giving body in their creative essence to the complex fabric of our deeply singular (unique, solitary) existence. ‘There is maybe a woman in the word loneliness’, wrote poet António Ramos Rosa, and so tells me Sofia in the preparation for this exhibition.